Here’s the thing. I have amazing friends. Some “real” and some virtual, but nevertheless, they’re amazing. And they’re doing amazing things.
I have a friend who’s adopting a child. Another one took her four young children on a mission trip. Another is fostering. Then there’s my friend who is 41 years old, pregnant with her fourth baby, and homeschools her oldest children.
My one friend is the kind of friend every woman needs. She never forgets my birthday and brings me dinner on random nights just because “the recipe made too much.” Never have I thought of taking my unneeded food to a friend.
I have a friend who takes care of her body in such a way that you see God’s glory shine through, not vanity. Then there’s the one who is building a business fiercely so she can continue to be at home with her children. I also have a friend who listens with such patience. And then she listens some more, always with an anointed word at the end of my rant but never judging.
These are my friends. I want to be like all of them. And to be honest, I’m worn out trying.
Over the past few years I’ve become more aware of what some call the “North American Church” or what I like to call “country club Christianity.” You know, the kind of relationship with Jesus that’s all take and little give. The kind where sacrifice doesn’t exist but comfy, closed, small group dinners do. But I don’t want to live like that because that’s not how I read Jesus and His disciples lived.
I read that they gave everything up for the Gospel.
In my perfectionistic and even legalistic tendencies, I fight against being “just a North American Christian” by looking around at what everybody else is doing. And since they are all doing amazing things for the kingdom of God, I assume that’s the ticket to living a sacrificial life, and I should do all of those things too.
After all, I want my faith to be authentic.
I want to accomplish the Great Commission like I’m called to do. What I’m finding, though, is that by looking at everyone else for how to do that I’m becoming exhausted and legalistic.
Sometimes I even find myself believing the lie that God is happiest with me when I’m performing for Him.
[Tweet “The thing is that God doesn’t love me any more or any less based on what I do or don’t do for Him.”]
He just loves me because He created me and I am His.
God does call us to specific tasks. But how do we know what they are? Especially when we look around and they’re so different for each person? There’s one passage in the Bible that has helped me with this.
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27).
[Tweet “My friends, as amazing as they are, aren’t Jesus.”]
They aren’t the ones who set the course of my life. They shouldn’t be the ones steering me in the direction I should go. Instead I should let my eyes look directly forward, ponder the path of my feet, and not swerve to to the right or the left.
I accomplish the most for Jesus when I’m on the path He has for me.
I know that path by keeping my eyes on Him. It may look like my friends’ at times, but otherwise it’s going to be distinct to my life, my gifts, and my circumstances.
Do you struggle to keep your eyes on Jesus instead of trying to accomplish everything you see everyone else doing for Him?